For culture, natural beauty, and exotic wildlife, you can't do better than Kenya. It's home to ancient ethnic cultures, like the Maasai people, plus many national parks and reserves—one of which runs right up to Nairobi's city limits. This ultimate two-week itinerary is packed full of adventures, including safaris in Nairobi National Park, Masai Mara, and Amboseli, hand-feeding giraffes, marveling at the red elephants of Tsavo, traveling to the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, and much more.


  • Hit the streets of Nairobi and enjoy safaris in the adjacent national park
  • Visit a giraffe rescue center and hand-feed these friendly animals
  • Enjoy safaris in Masai Mara, one of the most popular wildlife reserves in the world
  • See the red elephants of Tsavo and admire views of Kilimanjaro from Lake Naivasha
  • Go on game drives through Amboseli National Park and visit local Maasai warriors

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Nairobi, Optional Activities Nairobi
Day 2 Nairobi National Park Morning Safari, Elephant & Giraffe Tour Nairobi
Day 3 Transfer to Lake Nakuru, Safari Activities & Game Drives Nakuru
Day 5 Transfer to Masai Mara National Reserve, Afternoon Game Drive Masai Mara
Days 6-7 Masai Mara Safari Adventures: Hot-Air Balloons & Game Drives Masai Mara
Day 8 Transfer to Lake Naivasha, Afternoon Water Safari Lake Naivasha
Day 9 Day Trip to Hell's Gate National Park Lake Naivasha
Day 10 Transfer to Amboseli National Park, Afternoon Game Drive Amboseli National Park
Day 11 Amboseli Game Drives & Cultural Activities Amboseli National Park
Day 12 Transfer to Tsavo West National Park, Afternoon Game Drive Tsavo West National Park
Day 13 Tsavo West Morning Game Drive & Safari Activities  
Day 14 Transfer to Nairobi, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Nairobi, Optional Activities

Nairobi National Park
Big Five safari animals roam free in Nairobi National Park

Welcome to Kenya! This East African nation is truly something special. It's multicultural, multilingual, and home to some of the most popular safari destinations in the world. There's no greater example of Kenya's diversity than your destination of Nairobi, the capital and financial heart of the nation. At the airport, a driver will pick you up for the ride to your hotel in the leafy suburb of Karen. Here, you'll check into the Karen Blixen Coffee Garden & Cottages, a tranquil boutique hotel nestled amid the historic farm once owned by the "Out of Africa" author. 

If you feel like exploring this afternoon, a great place to start is with a visit to the Nairobi National Museum. One of the country's most prominent cultural institutions, it features fascinating exhibits on Kenya's dozens of ethnic groups, including traditional artifacts, clothing, and crafts. To see more quality items, visit the city's flea markets to browse for souvenirs. If you're hungry, do like the locals and head to a food stall for ugali (a dense maize porridge) or nyama choma (grilled goat meat).

For a more formal experience, you can always partake in Nairobi's increasingly multicultural food scene. There's a restaurant here to suit most tastes, be it Thai, Indian, Japanese, Italian, and, of course, traditional Kenyan seafood. And if you want to enjoy a nightcap in style, head to the trendy Westlands neighborhood, where popular and chic bars are abundant. 

Day 2: Nairobi National Park Morning Safari, Elephant & Giraffe Tour

Learn about the rehabilitation of orphaned elephants at the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage

The adventure begins! Your driver will meet you early for a quick ride outside the city limits to Nairobi National Park for a morning game drive. Despite its proximity to Kenya's capital, this 47-square-mile (117 sq km) protected area is home to a spectacular variety of wildlife. Over 400 species of birds have been recorded here, and there's an excellent possibility of spotting four of the famous Big Five animals (lions, leopards, elephants, buffalo, and rhinos).

Afterward, you'll visit the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage. Here, you'll see young elephants rescued and cared for until they're ready to be released back into the wild. On top of viewing the elephants, there's the option to sponsor an orphan. If you do, you can return later in the day to help feed and tuck your newly adopted elephant into bed.

Capping the day is a trip to the Giraffe Centre. Operated by the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW), this sanctuary exists to conserve Rothschild's giraffes by breeding and releasing them into the wild. At the time of AFEW's foundation in 1979, a mere 130 wild Rothschild's giraffes survived in Kenya, but today, thanks to this organization, that number stands at around 300. You can snap photos of the current residents from a raised viewing platform and even help with their feeding. There's an on-site bird sanctuary and a self-guided nature trail.

Day 3-4: Transfer to Lake Nakuru, Safari Activities & Game Drives

 Lake Nakuru National park
Lake Nakuru is an ecological hotbed featuring diverse wildlife and birds

Hop in the rugged 4WD vehicle once again this morning as you leave Nairobi with your driver bound for Lake Nakuru National Park. This ecological wonderland lies in the Great Rift Valley, 105 miles (170 km) northwest of Nairobi. The 73-square-mile (188 sq km) park surrounds Lake Nakuru, one of the Rift Valley's soda lakes. On the way, you'll stop at a lookout point to marvel at panoramic views of the vast Rift Valley and snap plenty of photos.

Upon arrival at the park, you'll check into the comfortable Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge, which overlooks the lake. Drop off your things, then head right back out on an afternoon game drive. Lake Nakuru is famous for many things, not least of which is the abundance of wildlife congregating in the area. You'll get up close and personal with many of the park's residents during today's and tomorrow's safari adventures.

Regarding birdlife, there are over 450 species here. One of the great spectacles is passing the lake to see the surface of its waters tinged pink with large colonies of greater flamingoes. Also inhabiting the park are lions, leopards, and cheetahs. Other wildlife includes buffaloes, giraffes, zebras, waterbucks, and baboons. Perhaps most crucially, Nakuru is a sanctuary for both black and white rhinos, and its conservation efforts have led to the successful protection and breeding of these endangered species.

Day 5: Transfer to Masai Mara National Reserve, Afternoon Game Drive

Masai Mara National Reserve
Get a front-row seat as you spot wildlife like lions in Masai Mara National Reserve

The wild ride continues as you leave Lake Nakuru after breakfast and continue toward the border with Tanzania. The Masai Mara National Reserve comprises a large part of this region. This 580-square-mile (1,510 sq km) game reserve is one of Africa's most famous safari destinations, and it borders the equally renowned Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. Together, these two contiguous protected areas host the great migration, an annual occurrence that spans July to November and sees millions of wildebeests, zebras, and gazelles migrate across the grassy plains.

The reserve on the Kenyan side was named in honor of the regional Maasai people, and its unspoiled savanna, woodlands, and natural springs make it a haven for massive and diverse populations of animals. Your destination within the reserve is the Ashnil Mara Camp, a luxury tented camp nestled between the Mara and Olkeju Rivers. Relax with a drink on the terraces, then get ready for an afternoon game drive in a 4WD around the reserve. Be sure to keep your camera at the ready—alongside grazing herds, you're likely to spot lions, leopards, cheetahs, and African bush elephants.

Plan your trip to Kenya
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Days 6-7: Masai Mara Safari Adventures: Hot-Air Balloons & Game Drives

If you like, watch the Great Migration from the basket of a balloon

The next two days are chock full of safari adventures. Each morning, you'll enjoy an early breakfast followed by various safari options. You can choose separate morning and afternoon game drives or spend the entire day in a 4WD searching for the reserve's lions, cheetahs, hippos, leopards, and countless other creatures. Should you opt for the full-day safari, lunch will be served picnic-style under the shade of an iconic African acacia tree.

If you like, there's also the option for a morning hot-air balloon ride over the park. There's nothing like enjoying a bird's-eye view of the great Masai Mara plains as you watch herds of gazelles and wildebeests migrating below. This is a dawn tour, so expect to see the first rays of light kissing the savanna as the wildlife awakes and travels to water sources for their morning drink. After about an hour, the balloon will touch back down on earth, and you'll toast the experience with a champagne breakfast.

Day 8: Transfer to Lake Naivasha, Afternoon Water Safari

A hippo and cormorant hang out in Lake Naivasha

Say goodbye to Masai Mara as you leave the reserve for the ride back toward Nairobi. About two hours north of the capital, you'll stop over for two nights at Lake Naivasha. This is another star freshwater lake of the Great Rift Valley, and like Nakuru, it's a wildlife haven. Upon arrival, you'll check into the Lake Naivasha Sopa Resort, where charming cottages surround a refreshing pool, and resident giraffes and monkeys frequent the surrounding acacia forest. Cool off with a dip in the pool and put your feet up for a bit, then it's time to head out for an afternoon activity.

There are many fun adventures to choose from, including water safaris by boat. These tours are an excellent opportunity to see the lake's endemic birdlife, plus aquatic animals like hippos, up close. It's quite the experience, zipping across the shimmering waters as cormorants and pelicans skirt the surface while zebras and antelope graze along the shore. You can also enjoy a walking safari at Crescent Island, a private game sanctuary on the lake where giraffes, wildebeests, zebras, and other wildlife roam free.

Day 9: Day Trip to Hell's Gate National Park

Explore the landscapes of Hell's Gate National Park by foot and bicycle

One of Lake Naivasha's other draws is its proximity to Hell's Gate National Park. Though not quite the inferno its name suggests, this 26-square-mile (68 sq km) park is known for its dramatic landscapes, geothermal features, and otherworldly rock formations. On a day trip this morning, you'll transfer to Hell's Gate by vehicle.

Upon arrival, take the rest of the day to explore this semi-arid environment with its sheer cliffs, open plains, and deep gorges. There are no large predators here, so it's a great locale to enjoy a bike ride or nature hike. As you go, expect to see various plains animals like giraffes, zebras, impalas, and (if you're lucky) rhinos. You can also visit the area's various geysers and embark on a canyon walk with a local guide. 

Day 10: Transfer to Amboseli National Park, Afternoon Game Drive

An elephant makes its way through Amboseli National Park

Leave Lake Naivasha early on a five-hour transfer south back to the border with Tanzania. Your destination is Amboseli National Park, which encompasses the foothills of mighty Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa (19,340 ft/ 5,895 m). Besides views of Kilimanjaro's snowcapped cone, this 151 square-mile (392 square km) park features abundant wildlife. Mostly, Amboseli is famous for its large herds of elephants. The park's open plains make it easy to spot these gentle giants as they move across the savanna.

Upon arrival in the park, you'll check into the luxury Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge, which also features jaw-dropping views of Kilimanjaro. After settling in, enjoy a late lunch and then embark on an afternoon safari, where you'll likely spot at least a few of Africa's famous Big Five and the odd baboon or two by the roadside. 

Day 11: Amboseli Game Drives & Cultural Activities

You'll have plenty of chances to spot lions and other big cats on today's game drives

You've got a full day of safari fun in store as you set off at dawn in an open-topped 4WD vehicle for a sunrise game drive. Traverse wetland landscapes with dried lake beds and sulfur springs, where you'll find large herds of elephants and other wildlife roaming the open plains. In between viewing the park's mammals, keep your eyes peeled for the diverse birdlife on show. Marabou storks, kingfishers, African fish eagles, Lanner falcons, and the endemic golden weaver are just a few of the 400 avian species that thrive in Amboseli's diverse ecosystems.

You can also visit a nearby Maasai community for a cultural exchange. Don't be surprised if Maasai warriors invite you to join in a ceremonial jumping dance. Return to the lodge for lunch, then leave on an afternoon game drive. As you explore the savanna, you'll see plenty of animals up close, including leopards, cheetahs, mongooses, and even wild dogs. A little while after sunset, you'll return to the lodge. 

Day 12: Transfer to Tsavo West National Park, Afternoon Game Drive

See the famous red elephants of Tsavo in southern Kenya

The final leg of your Kenya journey begins this morning with a pickup from your driver. You'll then head south for about two hours to Tsavo West National Park. One of the most evocative destinations in the country, this massive protected area (it spans 3,500 sq miles/ 9,065 sq km) is known for its almost mythical landscapes and creatures. These include ancient lava flows, natural springs, peculiar rock formations, and vast open plains where elephants tinged red with volcanic soil roam free.

After checking into the luxurious Kilaguni Serena Safari Lodge, nestled within the volcanic landscape of the Chyulu Hills, you'll set out on an afternoon game drive. Discover acacia woodlands and freshwater springs, where you'll spot wildlife ranging from lions and leopards to elephants, giraffes, hippos, and more. Your driver will also take you to panoramic lookout points to admire the park scenery and large animal herds below. 

Day 13: Tsavo West Morning Game Drive & Safari Activities

Along with larger animals like giraffes and elephants, Tsavo is home to diverse birdlife

On this morning's game drive, you'll discover the park's ancient lava flows, natural springs, and peculiar rock formations as your driver takes you to key panoramic lookout points. Spot the large animal herds below amid the rolling grasslands and rocky ridges. There's plenty to see above ground, too, with diverse bird species like the threatened corncrake and Basra reed warbler, as well as colorful vulturine guineafowl and iridescent Tsavo sunbirds. 

In between game drives, cool off in the lodge's swimming pool or relax with a sundowner on your balcony. In the afternoon, book a nature safari around the acacia woodlands, where you'll spot wildlife ranging from mighty hippos to the skittish lesser kudu. 

Day 14: Transfer to Nairobi, Depart

Sun setting on the African savanna
Today, the grand African adventure comes full circle. In the morning, meet your driver for the four-hour transfer back to Nairobi and the airport, where you'll catch your flight home. Kwaheri!

More Great Kenya Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Kenya? Check out these other Kenya itineraries, explore different ways to spend two weeks in Kenya on safari, or discover the best time to visit Kenya.


Map of Kenya Safari Highlights: Nakuru, Masai Mara, Naivasha, Amboseli & Tsavo — 14 Days
Map of Kenya Safari Highlights: Nakuru, Masai Mara, Naivasha, Amboseli & Tsavo — 14 Days